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Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog: 1/9/11 - 1/16/11

Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog

Saturday, January 15, 2011

How networking increases support, encouragement, motivation and energy

I had the great privilege of meeting Jane Gould from GB Job Clubs,  a registered charity and new exciting project to help address the unemployment of vulnerable and socially excluded people. It is meetings such as these that we can discover common interests and common purpose. 

Seeking the answers to aspects of our lives can appear complicated at times, however, simply meeting and networking with people allows us gain new insights. We can discover positive influences, encouragement and recognition. Everybody seeks to know they are valued in some way. It confirms that we actually exist!

I've come to realise in the last year or so that networking is something I'm quite good at. This really became apparent when completing a learning styles questionnaire last year. It's always been there, I just simply didn't have the confidence to be myself to believe it until recently.

I've been part of many forums online as well as face to face meetings in organisations. There have been support networks such as BullyOnLine. Chat sites such as Lycos Chat (now renamed), or simply just online games where communication is possible. All of these were fun in themselves, but they can be far more useful if we choose to discover how the links can provide new wisdom and practical possibilities to find new hobbies or a new job, or ways of making money. The possibilities are unending. 

How often do you meet somebody new in these circumstances and discover an apparent co-incidental link. Maybe that is common friends, a common life experience, the fact you may have visited the same places. There are even incidences of people discovering long lost family or rediscovering old friends that they have lost contact with. It can also be the person that has the skills or contacts to help us achieve our objectives.

Some networks I've been with, I've also moved on from when I've felt the time is right. I guess that is partly why I title my blog "Living Life in Chapters". The reason for moving on is that sometimes, a connection can hold us back. An example of this for me was when I moved on from the forum BullyOnLine. There are in networks at different levels. Sometimes, paying too much attention to how our negative experiences relate to others can cause us to focus in a backward manner and perhaps fall back into old, unhelpful patterns. 

I see this in groups. I've also illustrated this with a scene from the film "Apocolypto" (Music by James Horner). There is a scene where slaves who are heading for sacrifice are literally yoked together. Whilst travelling along the edge of a ravine, the weakest of the group falls off the edge causing the rest of the group to be in danger of falling with the weak and injured man. The guard for the group does not allow any other guards to help the group recover. He simply observes to see what happens. The majority of the group look to the strongest to help them back onto the ridge. None of them look down. All look up, focussing on recovering. Eventually they do recover and the guard cuts weakest loose, then pushing him off the edge. 

Relating this to a group or network, it is essential to we look toward the strongest and not to the weakest. The weakest, as part of the network is, in any case, already yoked to us. Occasionally, the weakest needs to be cut free to find a more appropriate support group. The example in the film Apocolypto is extreme in that the weakest falls to his death. I'm not suggesting that cutting free from the weakest results in death, only that the person can fit somewhere else more useful for them at their level. It causes a sense of loss but the separation in the best result for the majority. 

So, to summerize. 
  • You can choose to make the most of networking with people in order to learn. This can have intellectual, spiritual and financial benefits for us.
  •  Frequently, there is a time to move on.

  •  To repeat an acronym I created last year. Good and useful "MEETings" are most effective when there is Motivation, Encouragement, Empowerment and Trust. 

If you have not seen the film Apocolypto, I recommend getting it or going to see it. Here is the trailer. 

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Exercise - Being close to nature

This is pretty straight forward really.

For some time now, I've recognised the benefit of exercise to assist the development of the mind. 

I went out today to investigate a walking route with the intention of setting up a group. Health walks are getting more and more prevalent. I chose a spot at Leysdown on the Isle of Sheppey. It has been a dull winter day with quite a bit of rain, but marking out this route with assistance was a great way to spend a Friday afternoon in winter. The weather was not too cold, a brisk wind and the rain fortunately stopped during the 40 minute walk. 
The best part of this place is its remoteness. Only a few people around. Right on the coast. Lots of wildlife to witness. I'm convinced that there is something very spiritually enlightening about walking in a place that allows time to think. There are very few distractions. 

Like the process of meditation and visualisation in a relaxed state, being there was the reality of that calm state. It's well worth making the effort. It's a break from reading, writing and the everyday pressure of a working life.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011


Just a short few word for you folk. I've had a busy day, but simply want to share just a little. 

To live a life peace and tranquility, I'm suggesting that to consider being authentic is key to this concept. We can choose to keep ourselves safe from outside challenges such as judgement, but we can choose to be authentic with ourselves. Not telling lies to ourselves. Being truthful when we use self talk. 

When I joined the band I'm in, I was struck by the lyrics of the created songs. "Grace" one of my favourites. Click the video below and listen to the lyrics of the song. When you wake up in the morning, you can look in the mirror and choose Grace. 

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

To ask for and to receive in a place and in the presence of....

Whilst driving home from work today, a song came on the radio that I had not heard for some time and is one that I like, particularly because it reminds of the time when I first discovered my true vocation (about 7 years ago) and chose to follow it. This was my decision to help people.
The song "Where is the Love" by the Black Eyed Peas touched me at that time, connecting with that feeling in myself to question why the world is so full of conflict; to demand answers. 

When seeking help or understanding for ourselves or others, I think that many of us do it in that tense and emotional way that consumes energy. In so many ways we forget a key component in the transaction of asking for and receiving. 

How can we choose to receive? 

I believe this take focus. The ability to listen, accept and receive into the soul with gratitude that which is always on offer, even if it is not quite what we expected, is the answer. Having taken part in and facilitated some relaxation and meditation sessions recently, I have first hand experience of this. To be in the presence of others that are calm and relaxed assists this process in a great way. This is the result of the creation of a calm atmosphere. It's not a complicated concept really. I make no apology for mentioning that it goes on all over the world in churches. In fact that applies to all faith groups or groups that come together with a common purpose. 
The "asking" part of this is easy enough to do. Asking with passion and at length is even easier. The more difficult part is the concept of calmly listening to receive. For example, how many times have you seen somebody go into a shop or service to make a complaint, then not wait with patience to receive an answer? Maybe you have been the complainant yourself and made that very same error, storming away with anger and resentment. Of course, we don't always get the answer we want, but perhaps it is the answer we need in order to learn. There is great wisdom in the saying "Never look a gift horse in the mouth".

There's a final and important point to all this to a joke I heard and use use to illustrate the point. Apologies to all you Catholics out there. The use of the Pope in the joke is incidental. You can substitute him with any other person that people may desire to meet. 

A millionaire who's a devout Catholic decides to go on a luxury
trip to the
Vatican city to see the Pope in person. He flies out to Rome first
class and
arrives in that big square to listen to the Pope address the faithful.
Afterwards, the Pope comes among the people to meet and greet and
his blessings. The millionaire is standing there, near the front,
wearing his
finest Armani suit and his best gold jewellery and his chest puffs up
as the
Pope approaches. However, the Pope stops just before him and starts
to a stinking, scruffy old tramp who was standing nearby. The Pontiff
his hand on the tramp's shoulder and whispers in his ear, then
leaves him and
walks straight past the millionaire. The rich guy was extremely upset,
so he
found the tramp and said "Look, if I give you my clothes, can I have
yours?" The tramp agreed and so the next day, the millionaire, in his
smelly rags, awaited his audience with the Pope. Once again, the Pope
among the people, saw the millionaire, unrecognisable through the
grime, put
his hand on his shoulder and whispered in his ear, "Didn't I tell you to get lost yesterday!"

The lesson in this story is: Be careful what you ask for!

Final, final words I promise!!
Having just listened again to "Where is the Love?" I challenge you to also listen, hear and understand the words. (The video is embedded below.) They tell of all the questions we have in seeking enlightenment for self improvement. Once you have done this, spend some quiet time in relaxation and meditation (or prayer listening state if you prefer) waiting patiently for an answer. You may find some deep revelations to the answers you require in your life.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Living the simplicity of life

I've spent a lot of time recently reading so much, watching and listening to life coaching material. I've noticed my nagging desire to find some sort of ground breaking wisdom to share with you. Some days I'm more inspired than others. If I'm not careful, I could make this into a burden that will be self defeating.Today, I have decided to keep things simple. 

Here is my reasoning: -

When I first started blogging in around 2006, I noticed that much of the success I achieved back then was due to sharing little anecdotal stories from my past. Sometimes these stories were profound and sometimes they were simple life experiences that stuck in my mind and maybe had some quirky humorous element. I used to call these my "Scribbles". It was these scribbles that people seemed to enjoy reading, probably because they reflected the simplicity of life experience. Some people commented that they looked forward to the next instalment. Others said it became a routine for them to check for them each day. Without asking people, I had supplied people with what they wanted by some sort of co-incidence. 

I'm going to re-post one of those scribbles here today, but before that, I want to ask you what you want to see on my blog page.

What article have you found interesting?

What would you like to see here on this page? (Bear in mind that the blog theme is around self development)

What videos have you liked and do you watch them? (I try to make them relevant to the subject matter of the day)

What images have you liked?

Today, I'm keeping things simple because we have the ability to make life simple if we choose to. 

School days – Corporal punishment.
The all boys school I attended during the mid 70’s at age 11 was pretty strict. It had to be because most lads that got expelled from other schools in the area got sent there. We had quite a rough mix, but the teachers were good at handling it. Most of the teachers would dish out corporal punishment, something that is now banned in schools. My feelings about this are mixed. I can see both sides of the story. Here is an amusing little event that occurred.
A very good friend of mine, and an excellent musician, frequently got into trouble. He never attend school detention and would always end up being caned. One particular day, the deputy head teacher pondered the situation and had a question for him.
“Young man, it seems this happens very frequently with you. Almost every Monday morning, I here your name called out in assembly because you have failed to get to class on time, or some other misdemeanour's. As a result, you are given detention as punishment, but low and behold, you fail to comply with this and I end up, yet again, having to administer the cane to you. Why do you put yourself through this?”

He replied “Well sir, I’ve far more important things to do such as practising my Euphonium as opposed to wasting my time writing out hymn tunes in detention”. 

The teacher thought about this reasonably intelligent answer and said.
“Yes, I can understand your dedication to your music and its pleasing to see someone showing some clear commitment. It’s an admirable quality that I like to see in my students. Bend over laddie!

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Empowered choices lead to significant decisions

Following on from my articles on "Self Healing - achieving goals with a purpose" , "The One Ring - a life lesson" and "Faulty all or nothing thinking"; I have felt inspired to expand on this subject.

In the "All or nothing thinking" article, I described the process of substituting the words "should" or "must" with the word "choose". After a discussion with a friend today, I realise that there is a further important stage to this. Bear with me as I delve into the magical world of metaphor!

With all choices we have a menu. This word is most commonly used when eating out at a restaurant. The word is French in origin and could loosely be described as a list. So we look at the the menu and consider what we may want to eat. I don't know about you, but sometimes I find it hard to make up my mind. The longer it takes, the later I will get my food. I'll experience the discomfort of hunger and others in the dinner party will become frustrated and impatient, not to mention the waiting staff and the chef! So I need to choose and make a firm decision. Making the decision effectively seals the contract. If I've made a decision I later regret, I'll have the opportunity to choose something different the next time I go out to eat. 

We can apply this to all aspects of our life. The decision is to take ACTION. If we do not take ACTION, nothing will happen. In the restaurant example, we will simply go hungry.  In life we can choose what is on the menu at any given time. If the menu is short, then the decision is easier to make. We have less options. We can however only choose what is on the menu. 

When you choose something, do you just stop there and wonder why nothing happens?
To break out of this trap, you can sign and seal the contract with yourself by taking action on the firm decision you have made. 


My motivation behind writing these blogs followed a training course I attended last year called "Choices". Doing it inspired me with energy to get back to writing again with a new focus. I gave thanks to John Cordingly for his encouragement when delivering the training course.

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Sunday, January 09, 2011

Another take on goal setting

Businesses and organisations that seek to be successful and professional generally have a mission statement. If they have a policy and procedure manual, I've no doubt that when they developed it, they started with a mission statement. I've worked where there has been attention to this. During those times, I was pretty cynical and failed to see the relevance. There was rebellion in me for being forced to comply to an extent. 

A couple of years ago, I had a revelation about the purpose of a mission statement. It certainly is a GOAL.

Today, I have decided to do some research on some corporate missions statements. I'll state here and now that neither were as easy to find as I'd expected. 

"Our mission is to enhance and integrate our supplier diversity programs into all of our procurement practices and to be an advocate for minority and women owned businesses"

OK. So cool! Wal-Mart has a mission statement. I don't know about you, but I suspect that the average Joe in the street would have trouble fully understanding what this means. For me, I have a vague idea that is has something to do with promoting women, other than that and without research on the true meaning of the words, it's nothing short of corporate speak gobbledegook! I'd suggest it could do with a makeover by rewording to more simple language. 

Lets take a look at another.

The online store AMAZON
"Our vision is to be earth's' most customer centric company, to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online"

This one is much easier to understand. Aside of the word "centric" I'd say that the wording is clear and easy to understand for anybody. 

A lack of understanding of a mission statement can cause the workforce to have a lack of direction, purpose and motivation. Individuals (particularly managers) can be in danger of focussing to much upon day to day running, reports, procedures and box ticking exercises. These are of course important, but may not necessarily have a conscious and subconscious link to the foundations of a clear mission statement. 

So referring back to goals, we can choose to apply a personal mission statement to our lives. This will give us, purpose, motivation, direction and energy. It will also build self confidence and self esteem. 

  • Do you have a personal mission statement?

  • If so, can you write it down in language that you and others understand?
If you do this, I'm suggesting that you will discover a life goal. I challenge you to work out what you life mission is and to develop a statement for it. Once you have done this, check to see if your current goals are compatible with your mission statement. Don't worry if they are not. Goals can be a "work in progress". In other words, they can be amended and don't have to be the final product. You can choose to fine tweak them.

Now in order to practice this for myself, I'm going to write a draft personal mission statement.

"To live a life of joy and purpose. To continue to learn to accept, respect and be kind to myself so that I can successfully accept, respect and be kind to others. To Motivate, Encourage, Empower and Trust others. To enjoy the gift of humour and to laugh often by not taking myself too seriously. To recognise that all aspect of life have natural balance; so allow nature to perform that balance".

Hmmmm. That's a start. 

Over to you folks, if you choose to do the same. 

P.s. (an add on to this blog an hour or so after publishing)
Just for fun, check out this site Plain English Campaign and play with the gobbledegook generator. Very funny!

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